Celebrating 75 years of a North American pop icon with an exclusive megamix
Today Joni Mitchell turns 75 years young.
So much more than a figure of the hippie counterculture, Joni’s arrival to the United States from her Canadian hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan back in the mid-60s might have landed her smack dab in the middle of the folk movement as she got her start playing coffeehouses in Michigan and New York City before recording her 1968 debut LP Songs for a Seagull out in Hollywood, CA, with David Crosby around the same time he left The Byrds. From there, she went on to record to record 19 studio albums and two excellent live LPs encapsulating the finest aspects of pop, rock, folk and especially jazz, where she would go on to work with such giants of the fusion era as Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter, Don Alias, Joe Sample, Larry Carlton, Herbie Hancock, Phil Woods, John McLaughlin, Tony Williams, Stanley Clarke and so many others to create a sound nobody has quite been able to match, much like her fellow North American pop laureate Bob Dylan has done throughout the course of his career.
Graham Nash, Led Zeppelin, Sonic Youth, Prince and Marillion all wrote songs either for Joni or about Joni, while her influence on vocal jazz has given the oft-derided offshoot of the genre a much-needed shot of innovation, especially in the last five years or so through the works of such exciting modern acts as Maria Grand, Becca Stevens and Theo Bleckmann.
Nearly losing her to a brain aneurysm in 2015, or at least that’s what the Internet was leading us to believe, rattled us in a way we rarely feel as a collective being on this planet. And while her public appearances are rare in the years that have followed, despite her slow but steady progress in rehabilitation, being able to celebrate her 75th birthday while she is still with us is something we should all be thankful for.
“Joni Mitchell’s songs are the most sublime paintings of the landscapes of human emotions ever created,” proclaims the front page of the website for L.A.’s Music Center, where a two-night all-star birthday tribute concert concludes this evening featuring performances by James Taylor, Brandi Carlile, Glen Hansard, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Chaka Khan, Diana Krall, Kris Kristofferson, Los Lobos with La Marisoul, Cesar Castro & Xochi Flores, Graham Nash, Seal and Rufus Wainwright. “They are an unprecedented marriage of intimacy and universality, creating a sound that is incomparable, yet relatable to all. She is a trailblazer, a wanderer and a searcher, who continuously explored new territory and invited the world to join her on her journey of discovery.”
Please enjoy this 40-song megamix of hits, deep cuts, covers and homages that define why it’s Joni Forever in our world all the time.
Happy Birthday, Joni. We love you.